Why Water Quality Matters

 Population growth, residential and industrial development, and the resulting demands on our landscape and waterways have led to water quality and quantity concerns throughout South Carolina.  Currently, more than 1150 of our lakes, rivers and creeks have been listed as impaired by the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).  Yet, clean and plentiful water are critical to maintain life.  

What Affects Water Quality

 Water quality is impacted by pollution sources which can be categorized as point and nonpoint sources of pollution.  Point source pollution can be traced back to one source - a pipe such as one which discharges from an industrial or wastewater treatment plant.  Non point source pollution is discrete in nature - it includes runoff from land surfaces and atmospheric deposition. The Clean Water Act initially addressed point sources of pollution.  Phase II of the Act addresses non point sources of pollution including stormwater runoff.

Impacts of Stormwater

 Stormwater is water that runs off of the land, generated by precipitation, snow melt, or even irrigation, and all the pollutants that this runoff picks up as it makes its way to lower points in the landscape - typically rivers, streams, lakes, and estuaries.  Some stormwater flows over the land; other times, it's piped out to the stream.  Stormwater is not treated by a treatment plant, and therefore, it is considered to be the number one threat to our water resources.  

Auckland City - Water Cycles

 To find out more about how you can become a solution to stormwater pollution, visit our "What You Can Do To Prevent Stormwater Pollution" webpage!

SC Stormwater Rules

South Carolina recently passed federal legislation to manage stormwater through a permitting process which is administered by the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control. The stormwater rules require all construction sites of one acre or more, many industrial sites, and all regulated Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) to obtain a permit. More information about SC's municipal stormwater rules can be found here.

Carolina Clear currently works with MS4s to effectively address two of the six requirements of the federal mandate:

1. Public education and outreach
2. Public participation and involvement.


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Did you know?

You should not eat fish out of or swim in more than 40% of US waterways.

 Due to impervious surfaces such as parking lots, roof tops, and roadways, the volume of runoff in an urban area is 5 times greater than that of an equally large forested area.


 South Carolina contains 2,876 miles of tidal shoreline.  This is the driving distance from Columbia, SC to Seattle, WA!

Studies report that 20-40% of dog owners do not pick up after their dogs when walking!  The bacteria that's in pet waste can harm our rivers, lakes, and estuaries as well as add nutrients that lead to algae problems.

 A pinhole leak in a faucet can waste as much as 70 gallons of clean water each day!

Outdoor water use makes up 50% of typical household water use, making rain barrels a critical part of any water conservation plans.